It was quite an incredible coincidence for me when I went to Hanzomon and found the JCII Camera Museum. My heart was pounding since I have had a 'love and hate' relationship with cameras for almost 15 years.
As Ansel Adams said, "a good photograph is knowing where to stand," and I know where I stand. I was warmly welcomed with a lovely smile as we were only three —with another visitor— inside the main room, surrounded by quite a lot of cameras. It is not a big museum, but the collection is still pretty impressive.
There are hundreds of camera, including the world’s first camera Giroux Daguerreotype 1839. The ornate Tsuikin, Japan's first camera (1854) is also displayed here. There are various types from all around the world, classified in different categories: “classic”, “masterpiece” and “curio”.
The 'Japan Camera and optical Instrument Inspection and testing Institute' (JCII) was founded in 1954 to inspect all cameras exported from Japan in order to maintain quality standards. In 1969, the JCII started to classify some cameras as "Historical Japanese Cameras". The organization's name changed afterwards to become the Japan Camera Industry Institute (JCII).
If you are interested in photography, this is a great way to spend a few hours. You can also witness some camera related to celebrities, for example, the camera used in Roman Holiday, featuring Audrey Hepburn. You can also enjoy some modern pictures, left as a heritage for future generations.
Aside from the JCII Camera Museum, you can find behind the main building the JCII Photo Salon and the JCII Library, for people willing to learn more about film and photography. Unfortunately, they do not provide any books in English – quite a sad thing since I believe there are a lot of great works here. JCII also accepts members to the JCII Camera Museum Friendship Circle. Members can enjoy free admission to the museum and some other nice benefits.
The museum is opened from 10 am to 5 pm every day, except on Monday (museum holiday) and the entrance costs only ¥300. Please understand that photography is not permitted inside the building. The closest station is Hanzomon (Exit 4) – you just need to follow the street next to the Family Mart to find your heart's desire if you are indeed a true camera lover!